Father Dennis Edward O’Brien, USMC wrote,
“It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.”
We know many Gold Star families. Families who have lost their loved ones who died while serving our nation. We received the following letter from Debbie Lee on the anniversary of her son’s, Navy SEAL Mark Lee, death. He, as so many others gave the last full measure of devotion. Debbie Lee, after the death of her son founded America’s Mighty Warriors foundation. Here is Debbie’s letter.
Marc Lee, Never Forgotten!
It’s hard to believe that it has been twelve years since my son Navy SEAL Marc Alan Lee gave his life to save his teammates and defend the freedoms we enjoy every day.
He is so alive in all that I do, and his life is impacting millions of lives around the world. Yet it has been 12 years since I have hugged him, or heard him say Love you Mom, or looked into his gorgeous brown eyes or watched his playful antics, or laughed at his amazing sense of humor.
Oh, how I wish he would walk through the door and tell me that he had taken some special assignment to defend our country which required him to go under cover and that it required he was depicted as dead.
Don’t get me wrong, God has given me amazing comfort and strength. I have learned ways to manage the grief and cope, but you never “get over” losing your child. As a Mother he grew inside of me and was attached to me by an umbilical cord. He received his daily substance as a baby by nursing at my breast.
I find myself wondering if he hadn’t have died where would he be, what would he be doing? He loved kids, so I know that there would be 4, 5 or maybe 6 “little Marc’s” running around. If he had stayed in the SEALs he would have been in 17 years and would probably be a Senior Chief or maybe would have gone the Warrant Officer route. He might have chosen to get out and may have gone back to Seminary to complete his degree to be a Pastor. His personality, humor, selflessness and understanding of the Bible and Christ could easily have placed him in a Mega Church.
He loved soccer and I know he would be coaching, maybe his kids teams or at a high school, college or club team. He was trying out for the professional team the Colorado Rapids when he blew out his knee, forcing him to return home for surgery. One of the honors I’ve had was when the Rapids called and flew me up to a game where they presented me with Marc’s team Jersey.
Marc was the peacekeeper in our family and I know that in our different family struggles he would have been the voice of reason.
As I reflect on the 12 years since Marc physically left this world, I am overwhelmed by the impact he continues to make. How he has impacted millions of lives by the way he lived, how he selflessly gave his life, and his amazing “Glory Letter.”
Beyond a shadow of a doubt I know where Marc is. Many people have told me Marc is in Valhalla, warriors heaven, because he gave his life for his country. I know Marc is in Heaven because he believed that Jesus Christ was his Lord and Savior. That gives me amazing peace and hope. Jesus is also my Lord and Savior and I will see Marc again when God calls me home. Until then, by God’s strength I will continue to complete my mission to honor and support our Veterans and Gold Star families who have sacrificed greatly for the freedoms we enjoy every day.
Aug 2nd you will find me honoring and celebrating Marc by accepting his challenge he mentions in his Glory Letter to do random acts of kindness. I will be out in the community buying cups of coffee, meals, and tanks of gas, and handing them Marc’s letter to our troops and Gold Star families.
You could do the same thing to honor and remember Marc where you live. Print off copies of Marc’s amazing “Glory Letter” and hand it to someone when you do a random act of kindness. You can also post on our FB page AMW Random Acts of kindness pictures of your RAOK or share what you did. You can also donate in Marc’s memory, so we can continue our mission to honor and support those who served and our Gold Star families. You can also purchase merchandise through our store or read any of the books we sell written by Marc’s teammates or myself that share Marc’s heroic story.
Please continue to pray for those serving and our gold Star families whose fallen hero gave all of their tomorrows, so we can enjoy our today.
Marc ended his amazing letter with these words “do me a favor, pass on the kindness, the love, the precious gift of human life.” We owe it to Marc and all of those who have served to accept that challenge and as I say “Live your life worthy of their sacrifices.”
Marc, my son, my hero, my mighty warrior, I am so proud of you, I miss you, and I can’t wait to see you. I’ve put on your boots, picked up your weapon you laid down and until God calls me home, will continue to fight for your brothers and other families whose loved one gave their final breath.
You are NEVER FORGOTTEN!
America must have a warrior class that swears to protect and defend our Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic. As Navy war veteran President John F. Kennedy, during his inaugural address, said,
“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
Navy SEAL Marc Lee’s family knows what President Kennedy meant. God Bless all the Gold Star families.
Ramadi fell to ISIS. Sunni support, the leadership of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, and the strategy put forth by American leadership are all hanging by a thread. For his part, White House Spokesman Josh Earnest is standing firm on behalf of the administration. Despite calls from military leaders of a fresh review of American strategy in the wake of the latest failure, Earnest said, “no review of our ISIL strategy is forthcoming.” Perhaps you aren’t familiar with Ramadi. Let’s step back in time a bit. The date was August 2, 2006. Marc Lee was a Navy Seal, fulfilling his dreams that took root when he was a child in Hood River, Oregon. Abandoning his first goal of playing professional soccer, Marc overcame hellish training and pneumonia to become a Navy Seal. His fellow Seals remember him as “brawny and boastful,” but one who “openly spoke of his love for his God and his family.” His pastor and mentor, Chuck Towelcot, praised Marc for his “glorious bravery” and passion for his faith. The 28-year-old warrior was the best of who America is.
But August 2, 2006 would be a day his family would never forget. Lee was fighting beside American Sniper Chris Kyle. Later, Kyle would tell the story of August 2, 2006 in his book. “Marc Lee was at the lead, above us on the steps. He turned, glancing out a window on the staircase. As he did, he saw something and opened his mouth to shout a warning. He never got the words out. In that split second, a bullet passed right through his open mouth and flew out the back of his head. He dropped down in a pile on the steps. We had been set up.” On that fateful day, Marc Lee became the first Navy Seal to die in Iraq. He was survived by two siblings, his mother, and his wife. At his funeral, Pastor Towelcot said, “He died for other people. He died for a teammate. He died for us.” The American surge captured this key Iraqi city. Order would soon be restored. Citizens could walk down the streets. But nine years later, how things have changed. The city has been turned over to poorly trained soldiers backed by the weak Iraqi government. General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the city where Lee gave his life was “not symbolic in any way.” Josh Earnest, asked about the events of the past few days, said, “We aren’t going to light our hair on fire” over the loss of the key Iraqi outpost.
Marc’s mother, Debbie Lee, has lamented the loss of the city and the reversal of the gains her son’s unit had secured. Marc has been awarded a Silver Star posthumously. His bravery and sacrifice stand as a symbol of all that is good about our military men and women. And now, with so many of their gains reversed, the response of the White House is to not even review their strategy, and certainly to “not light our hair on fire” over the loss. A legitimate argument can be made that we never should have gone into Iraq in the first place. But we did. And with the help of the surge, the military action was considered a great success. But as the “JV Team” (President Obama’s own words, describing ISIS) takes hold of cities once secured by American blood, it is easy to understand the sentiments of Debbie Lee. And in the wake of the daily victories of ISIS/ISIL, perhaps the time has come for someone in leadership to light his hair on fire.